J. Michael Hardin has been appointed as Samford University’s new provost, effective July 1. The announcement was made May 1 by Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.
Hardin currently serves as dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and will replace J. Bradley Creed, Samford’s provost since 2002. Creed will become president of Campbell University in North Carolina on July 1.
In addition to his administrative duties as chief academic officer, Hardin will be professor of quantitative analysis in Samford’s Brock School of Business. At Alabama, he serves as Russell Professor of Business and a professor of statistics, and he also is an adjunct professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Hardin’s appointment follows a national search that yielded more than 100 candidates. He was involved in several interviews with a 19-member, university-wide search committee and two days of on-campus visits with university leadership and representatives of various constituency groups.
“The Provost Search Committee is impressed with Dr. Hardin's wide range of intellectual interests, his academic credentials and his administrative experience,” said search committee chair Dennis Sansom. Sansom is chair of Samford’s philosophy department.
“His degrees in philosophy, mathematics and theology, coupled with his experience working in a school of public health and a school of business, have framed an understanding of the importance of a strong liberal arts foundation and its role in shaping the academic and intellectual goals of the overall university. Furthermore, it is clear to us that Dr. Hardin is a longtime admirer of the academic purpose and Christian mission of Samford University. He believes—and we agree—that at this point in his career and life, he can make significant contributions here. We are happy that Dr. Hardin has agreed to join us.”
“I count myself extraordinarily fortunate to receive and accept the invitation to become Samford University provost, a position enabling me to integrate my faith with my lifelong dedication to learning,” Hardin said. “I am grateful to share Dr. Westmoreland’s vision for Samford’s future, and I look forward to working alongside this man of high character and intellect at such a key point in Samford’s history. I am honored to be asked to carry on the great work of Dr. Brad Creed.”
Hardin brings a diversity of experience to Samford, Westmoreland noted, in addition to his academic administrative experience. He often serves as a consultant to health-care organizations in data analysis, sampling and program integrity. He is a prolific writer and guest speaker in the areas of database design and decision support systems, and he is an ordained Baptist minister.
Hardin has been Culverhouse dean since 2011 and was an associate dean from 2007 to 2011. He oversees a college with a $50 million annual budget, more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and a 135-member faculty. Earlier he was a faculty member in several areas at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was a visiting professor at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
He earned his doctorate in 1985 from the University of Alabama, where he also completed a master of arts degree in mathematics. Additionally, he has bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, a master’s degree in research design and statistics from Florida State University, and a master of divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
"In accepting this assignment, Dr. Hardin brings to Samford a wealth of experience in higher education, an innate appreciation for our mission, genuine affection for the time-honored role of faculty, and an understanding that we are all here to shape and provide a superior education for our students,” Westmoreland added. “I am eager to welcome Dr. Hardin to the campus. I also offer my thanks to Dr. Sansom and all who worked with him throughout this process."
Earlier Friday, Hardin announced his retirement from the University of Alabama system and the deanship at Culverhouse.
“To assume this once-in-my-lifetime opportunity [at Samford], I will retire as dean of Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama effective July 1,” Hardin said. “My difficult decision to leave that beloved position is made a bit easier by my absolute confidence in Culverhouse’s exceptional leadership team.”